Indiana University Indiana University IU

Culture Māori
Title Pendant (Hei Tiki)
Date 19th century
Medium Nephrite and haliotis shell
Dimensions Object: 8 7/8 × 5 3/4 × 2 3/4 in. (22.5 × 14.6 × 7 cm)
Overall (includes mount): 10 1/4 × 6 1/8 × 2 15/16 in. (26 × 15.6 × 7.5 cm)
Credit Line Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 80.5.2

Share this artwork!

About this Work

The hei tiki has become a symbol for not only Māori culture but also the modern nation of New Zealand. Made of nephrite, a valued material, hei tiki are usually 2-7 inches in height. Used for weapons, tools, and ornaments, this form of jade was only found on New Zealand’s South Island, thereby increasing its value.

Hei tiki were historically heirlooms passed down from generation to generation, and believed to acquire some of the spiritual power possessed by each owner. Though it does not realistically depict an ancestor, hei tiki are associated and named after specific ancestors.

This hei tiki is unusual in its great size. It is believed that the larger hei tiki come from a later date and were created with metal tools, perhaps in a response to European taste for larger objects.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

Viewing Information
This artwork is currently on view.


Request this Image
The Eskenazi Museum of Art provides images of its collection, free of charge, upon request. This artwork is under copyright protection. You can request the image and it will be emailed to you when the request is complete.

Cite this Page
"Pendant | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.